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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Community Transit to boost fares, routes

Times Snohomish County Bureau

Community Transit riders will need extra change for bus fare come October, but they'll have additional routes and times from which to choose.

The Community Transit board last week unanimously approved a number of changes set for the fall, including a local fare increase.

Beginning Oct. 1, adults will pay $1.25 per ride, an increase from the $1 rate in effect since 1998. Youth fares will increase from 60 cents to 75, and senior/disabled fares will rise from 30 cents to 50. DART paratransit service will increase from $1 to $1.25.

Commuter fares will not change.

The fare increases should add about $780,000 in annual revenue, officials said. The bus service's operating budget for 2005 is $79.1 million.

Also approved last week were a number of route changes, including a new route serving the Meadowdale area, that will begin Sept. 25.

Route 119 will take riders from Meadowdale past Alderwood mall and to the Lynnwood Transit Center. Most of that route is now unserved by Community Transit, and local residents had requested buses, agency spokesman Tom Pearce said.

Buses will run every 30 minutes during peak hours and hourly the rest of the weekday schedule and on weekends.

Service hours on Route 202 between Lynnwood and Smokey Point, as well as hours on Route 240 between Stanwood and Arlington, will increase.

Currently, the last buses on those routes leave for their final destinations around 9:30 p.m., but that will be extended to about 11 p.m. Pearce said the Lynnwood-Smokey Point route will pass Alderwood mall, helping employees there who need to catch a bus.

But the Community Transit board also eliminated DART Route 102, which serves Silver Firs, east of Mill Creek, saying low ridership was making the service too expensive. Of 24 registered riders for the door-to-door route, only about 11 people use it, Community Transit staff members said last week. Eliminating the route will save about $300,000.

Community Transit is helping riders there find alternatives, as many of them use the service to reach doctor's offices. Some will be able to use Routes 132 and 128, which travel through Silver Firs.

"As long as it's good weather, I don't mind going the extra distance for one of the other routes," said Ray Huckell, who uses a wheelchair when traveling. "But I don't know what I'll do when it's dark or rainy."

Community Transit board members said they will revisit the route in the next two years to see if population changes warrant returning a DART bus to the area.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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